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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2004

OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT WILL SPARK INNOVATIVE REDEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION IN ROCK ISLAND AND EAST MOLINE

SPRINGFIELD - Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to transform brownfield sites into new business and job opportunities, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the Northwest region cities of Rock Island and East Moline will receive additional Brownfields Redevelopment funding to perform crucial environmental cleanup work. 
 
The funding is being provided through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive, economic development plan for the Northwest region.
 
“The greatest strength of the Northwest region is the enterprising spirit and tireless work ethic of its residents.  It is the resource that trumps all others.  Often, all that is needed is the initial opportunity to let that ingenuity go to work.  The Brownfields Redevelopment Program is proving to be tremendously effective here because it provides the foundation on which the region can build successful business communities and create jobs,” Governor Blagojevich said.    
 
Rock Island will receive $10,000 to complete removal of underground storage tanks at the former Yerbury-Dana Drycleaners site at 1208 Third Avenue and prepare it for redevelopment.  A mixed-use facility with ground floor retail and upper floor residential is being considered for the site.  The city also previously received a $180,000 grant through the Illinois Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment program for environmental work at the site.
 
East Moline will receive $19,000 in Brownfields Redevelopment grants to complete environmental investigation and oversight of the Quarter Riverfront Project and the Great River Industrial Park.  The Quarter Riverfront Project is a former John Deere industrial area near the Mississippi River that the city plans to redevelop into a mixed-use site, including residential, commercial and recreational opportunities.   The new development is expected to create at least 100 new jobs.
 
The Great River Industrial Park includes the former Fairbanks and Morris foundry site near the Central Business District that East Moline seeks to redevelop into a bus transfer station, along with other light industrial and commercial uses.  In June 2003, East Moline was awarded $83,000 from the Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Program.  The environmental investigation is expected to be completed soon, clearing the way for an Illinois EPA “No Further Remediation Letter” that indicates all cleanup objectives have been met. 
 
“The Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Program is sparking renewal in communities across the Northwest region and throughout our state.  The planned redevelopments in Rock Island and East Moline are a great illustration of this renewal at work.  The additional funding these towns are receiving will enable the needed remediation to be completed and clear the way for these exciting new projects to begin,” said Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.
 
   The grants are awarded to Illinois municipalities for environmental assessments of abandoned or underutilized properties in preparation for cleanup and redevelopment.  79 Illinois communities have received over $9 million in funding for environmental assessments and cleanups of brownfield sites under the Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Program.
 
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  This grassroots effort for the Northwest region was the product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  The more than 30 projects that the Governor announced last October for Northwestern Illinois are designed to be flexible and effective.  This plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.


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